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Freelance journalist Focus with Liz Bestic

Health and travel journalist Liz Bestic tells us about her career and specialisms, what story ideas fire her imagination, and advises PRs on how they can help her most effectively.

About my journalism:

What topics does your work focus on?
I write about health and travel mainly but more recently have been interviewing interesting people who live locally to me in Suffolk and Norfolk. For example I have just finished interviewing local artist Louise Richardson who makes amazing art out of dresses made of lead!

Where can we find your writing?
In the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Independent, WeightWatchers Magazine, East Anglian Daily Times or Eastern Daily Press.

What’s your most memorable assignement?
I really enjoyed interviewing Melvyn Benn who runs the Latitude festival in Suffolk. He used to run the Workers Beer Cooperative in the 70s and is a bit of an old hippie. So running festivals is right up his street. And he was a really nice man to interview. I also interviewed rock star Chris Rea about becoming an artist. He was also lovely and very unassuming.

What feature would you love the opportunity to write?
I would like to do a feature about firesetters. I would like to get into the mind of youngsters who enjoy setting fires and try to find out why they do it!

Where do your stories come from?
I source ideas for stories from all sorts of areas. Other stories which have appeared and need to be followed up. Local newspaper stories which deserve to be told to a wider audience. PRs are also a great source of story ideas but they need to be more sure about what areas journalists actually cover. It is frustrating to be rung up by a PR and asked if I want to go to the Toy Fair when I stopped writing about parenting issues a long time ago!

How do you like PRs to get in touch?
I like them to get in touch by email whenever they have a really good story idea.

What’s your take on press trips, conferences, and launches? Useful sources of ideas and contacts or a waste of your time?
Press conferences have their place as long as there is someone worth interviewing there to make the trip worthwhile. Now that I live in Suffolk I am much more picky about which events I attend because of time constraints. Press trips are essential for travel features so I am always happy to do those.

Any advice for PR professionals on how to work with you?
Again just to make sure they are targeting me with the right type of material.

If you weren’t a freelance journalist, how would you pay the bills?
I would paint.

If we gave you £1,000, what would you spend it on?
I would buy a Mac. I am about ready to throw my old PC out of the window!

What books on your bedside table, blogs on your screen, magazines in your bag at the moment?
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. It’s about his travels across the US with his eccentric poodle. The dog is so like my lurcher of the same name it makes me laugh. I like political blogs and occasionally buy magazines like Glamour to check up on fashion and beauty.

[lnk||_blank|Read more about Liz and see some of her cuttings on the Freelance Journalist Directory]
[img|jpg|Freelance journalist Liz Bestic]